Forest Action Plan
Georgia Forestry Commission’s five-year
A comprehensive plan for Georgia to sustain
and expand the benefits of its 24+ million acres
of forest land and forest products industry.
Forest Action Plan
PO Box 819
Macon, GA 31202
• Georgia has 24+ million acres of forestland, approximately
67% of our total land area.
• Today we have 96% more cubic feet of wood growing in
Georgia than we did 50 years ago.
• Total economic activity supported by the forest industry in
Georgia is more than $28.7 billion.
• 100,000+ jobs
“I am proud to see our state retain its
position as a national forestry leader,”
said Governor Deal.
How the plan came about…
The 2008 Farm Bill required all
states to establish a 5-year
forest action plan
• Allows GA to receive funding
from the Cooperative
Forestry Assistance Act
• Provides meaningful and
measureable deliverables of
This Assessment provides a comprehensive analysis of
forest-related conditions, trends, threats and
opportunities in the state and designates priorities within
rural and urban forest landscapes.
Additionally, states were charged with the order of
developing long term strategies for investing federal,
state and other resources to manage these identified
priority landscapes and issues while meeting national,
regional and state themes or guidance.
Georgia's Strategy accomplishes the following:
– Outlines long-term strategies and programs to address priority landscapes
– Describes how the state proposes to invest federal and other funding
resources to address priorities;
– Includes timelines for project and program implementation
– Identifies partner and stakeholder involvement
– Describes how the state’s proposed activities will accomplish S&PF
As the assessment and strategies were developed, they
incorporated major plans already in place such as the
State Wildlife Action Plan, Community Wildfire Protection
Plan and the Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment.
Forest Action Plan Outreach
Vision - Healthy, sustainable forests
providing clean air, clean water and
abundant products for future
Mission - To provide leadership,
service and education in the
protection and conservation of
Georgia's forest resources.
•Conserve Working Forest Landscapes
•Protect Forests from Harm
•Enhance Public Benefits from Trees
Forests filter our air and water, serve as places for recreation, and
provide wildlife habitat. Forest Action Plans help preserve a
natural legacy for generations to come.
Forest Action Plans offer the best thinking of local experts to
proactively fight threats to forests from wildfire, insects, disease,
and encroaching development.
Most of Georgia’s forests are owned by families and protected and
managed by professionals. Forest Action Plans target resources
where they're needed most.
Pressing Forest Issues and Threats
(ranked by stakeholders)
1) Water quality and quantity
3) Forest health
5) Air quality
6) Fire management
Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) foresters and technicians are available to assist landowners with a variety
of forest management services. Following is a brief overview of programs and services offered by the GFC
forest managment staff.
Landowners can contact their local GFC Forester for further assistance.
Cost Share & Incentive Programs
•Cost-share and conservation assistance through federal and state programs
•Directories for Consulting Foresters, Forestry Service Contractors, Master Timber Buyers,
Certified Arborists, and Christmas Tree and Pine Straw Producers
•Forest health information, education, and training
•Forest pests and invasive species identification and management recommendations
Forest Legacy Program & Conservation Easements
•Forest Legacy Program administration and conservation easement assistance
Management Plans and Advice
Provide site specific consultation and written guidelines on topics such as reforestation, timber
stand improvement, harvesting, and timber selling
Development of multiple-use Forest Stewardship Plans
Assistance with prescribed burning, including firebreak installation, burn plan development and
assistance carrying out a burn
Taxes and Estate Planning
Tax and estate planning information and resources for forest landowners
Pine and hardwood bare root seedlings for sale
Water Quality and BMPs
Advice on Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs), as well as monitoring and education
BMP learning modules online
Forest water quality and wetland complaint investigation and mediation
Timber Harvest Notification Ordinances Information
#1 Threat: Water Quality
Currently, more than 6,000 miles of streams do not
meet state water quality standards.
Nonpoint pollution and Urbanization are the biggest
factors that put Georgia's water at risk.
GFC advice and Best Management Practices can help
landowners and communities combat this issue.
• Declining budgets have affected state
and local regulatory agencies’ abilities
to effectively address water quality and
• GFC and DNR will
work with local
developers to ensure
protection of stream
From 2001- 2005, Georgia’s canopy cover declined by a total of
398,330 acres, or 273 acres per day.
Through the Sustainable Community Forestry Program,
GFC focuses on the future of our community forests by
helping local leaders recognize the value of trees and to
plan with trees in mind.
•Tree Ordinances, Tree City program
•Risk assessments for fire protection
With these programs community leaders can build a
sustainable plan that minimizes the loss of trees while
maximizing their benefits.
•identify areas of opportunity within community
watersheds to connect forest patches to
improve the water and air quality function of
•identify appropriate mechanisms,
•and facilitate discussions to link patches with
landowners, local governments and
conservation-minded nonprofit organizations
#3: Forest Health Threats
Forest pests can
Annosum Root Disease
Laurel Wilt Disease
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
Pine Bark Beetles
Sudden Oak Death
Trees that are weakened by pests
and disease are at added risk of
Legislative support and regulation
are needed to prevent the spread of
these destructive threats.
Foresters in the districts and
counties and county Chief Rangers
provide the majority of forest health
assists to landowners in Georgia.
Foresters are available for a variety
of insect, disease, and invasive plant
diagnosis and advice.
Urbanization and resulting forest land losses place
extraordinary stresses on wildlife and biodiversity.
Georgia ranks fifth in the nation in number of
species extinctions and eighth for species at risk.
Many aquatic organisms have declined as a result of
impoundments, siltation, pollution and competition
from exotic species.
•Conservation organizations and GFC will identify and
protect significant wetland habitats through fee simple
acquisition or conservation easements.
•DNR and GFC will work to provide technical
guidance and direct financial and other incentives to
private landowners to encourage the protection,
restoration and management of important wetlands.
#5: Air Quality
The Forests’ Role:
By reducing air pollution, trees do more than save
money in pollution mitigation efforts; they save money
in health care costs.
(The American Lung Association estimates that ozone
associated health care costs Americans about $50
Monetizing forest carbon through private forest
landowner participation in these markets provides an
opportunity for a measure of compensation for the
provision of a societal benefit.
#6: Fire Management
At GFC, one of our top priorities is successful Fire
Management through Best Management Practices.
Rural Fire Defense Program
Prescribed fire (Rx fire) is a safe way to apply a natural
process, ensure ecosystem health and reduce wildfire risk.
Increasing urbanization challenges Georgia’s ability to maintain or
increase the million-acre prescribed fire program. This program is
GFC’s best fire prevention tool for mitigating wildfire threat.
#6: Fire Management
Programs like Firewise allow communities to have the peace of mind
that they are prepared in case of an emergency.
Eric Mosley, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist
#7: Forest fragmentation and Parcelization
• Forest fragmentation and parcelization are
additional challenges caused by urbanization.
These phenomena are created when forests are
converted to other land uses and when the
number of forest landowners increase, but the
land parcels shrink in size.
• Contributing factors include urban sprawl,
inheritance issues, tax implications, timber land
divestitures, investment concerns or other
#7: Forest fragmentation and Parcelization
GFC will continue to educate landowners about CUVA
and FLPA opportunities and educate local tax
assessors about how to adequately evaluate the
properties enrolled in these programs.
• Economics and changing markets must be considered in order to
increase the value of forests and forest products for continued
industry growth. Traditional forest product markets have declined,
but forest growth exceeds removals and is available to supply
local and global markets.
Keep our Forests on your mind
Privately held forestlands required long-term
commitment that can be accomplished through a
partnership of Federal, State and local